It’s time to rename the “article page”

By Jodie Hopperton


Los Angeles, California, United States


Every day I hear the term “article page.” We’ve become so used to it because news organisations used to focus around the article; some still do. But if we truly want to be user centric, we need to change our mindset from journalism being about ‘“articles” to “content.”

We used to start a story with 600- to 800-word articles and build around that. But no more. Journalism is multimodal. It can, and is, presented in multiple formats.  

Now newsrooms often look at a story and decide which tools are best to present that story. The product people build the tools for them to do that. And this seems to becoming more and more important as we see product organisations with “storytelling product managers.”

Article pages like this one in The Guardian often have elements outside of written text, so perhaps it's time news media companies acknowledge that.
Article pages like this one in The Guardian often have elements outside of written text, so perhaps it's time news media companies acknowledge that.

Different users consume information in different ways. Many want the highlights, some want the videos, and sometimes a graphic or a chart is the best way to convey information.  

So please can we rename the “article” page to be more reflective of what it is and to get us all thinking differently about it?  

We can’t call it the “topic” page because many organisations have a higher level topic page with multiple pages underneath. And “subject” page is too narrow. So I propose “content” page. 

Are we agreed? Great ;)

We actually have multiple dilemmas here. Because if it’s not the article page then people may not be “reading” if there is an image or a video involved. So do we still have readers? Or are they users? Or consumers? Collectively, it’s an audience. Anyway, I digress. 

Related to this discussion is how we tell users about the content: what is on a page and whether they want to go further and truly engage with it. Internally at INMA, we’ve been talking about this tagging system by Netflix that seems to be highly effective.

This goes beyond basic meta tagging (e.g., election, USA, president) or even user need (e.g., entertain me, inform me) — which, to be fair, is important in itself. Nate Kelly from Oovvuu noted on INMA’s Slack that: “A strong taxonomy can boost engagement, discovery, and aid supportive AI systems in the proper indexing and distribution of a publisher’s content.”

What Netflix does is take that taxonomy, add emotion, and turn it over to the user. It’s a guide to what they get and how they may feel. Mediahuis has started going down this road for internal use in their article DNA. This gives them a view of how they should present the news in terms of formats, user news, and the mix of content. 

Perhaps this is an excellent trial for AI and the NLP-based tagging that is becoming available, at least within a standard taxonomy of sorts.

If you’d like to subscribe to my bi-weekly newsletter, INMA members can do so here.

About Jodie Hopperton

By continuing to browse or by clicking “ACCEPT,” you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance your site experience. To learn more about how we use cookies, please see our privacy policy.